Monday, November 30, 2009

Garlic Lime Chicken



This will be a quick post because we've got to keep working on the Christmas tree tonight. It didn't quite get finished this weekend, despite hubby's best efforts to keep me on track (don't blame him - it's hard to keep me on track most of the time!) Anyway, on to the recipe - and enjoy!

This is a recipe I posted about a year and a half ago. It's truly one of our favorites, and I was inspired to repost it this week because it's such a great weeknight recipe. And who can't use another tasty way to fix chicken?! Just make a simple spice rub, heat a skillet, juice a lime and you are all set!

I would add, I have learned to pound (flatten) the chicken slightly when I make this, as that really helps it cook more quickly and evenly. It's also a way to make sure that each bite has plenty of flavor, as there is more surface area to pick up the spice and flavor!

This makes a simple pan sauce which is so tasty. Make sure you keep the heat reasonable, so you don't burn the butter. But you want some brown bits in there for the wonderful flavor they give, so go with about medium heat.

Hope you love this as much as we do!

Garlic Lime Chicken
(Serves 2; modify proportions as needed)

1/2 tsp salt (I use less; see below)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder (about the only time I use the stuff!)
1/2 tsp onion powder (ditto!)
1/2 tsp thyme
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
(pound to flatten or make thin cutlets)
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chicken broth or white wine (I usually mix both)
1-2 Tbsp lime juice, depending on your taste

Combine first 7 ingredients; make extra if you like. Coat both sides of chicken with dry rub.

Heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Cook chicken until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side (or about 2-3 for thinner cutlets). If needed keep flipping the chicken until it's cooked through, to prevent uneven browning. Remove chicken and keep warm. Add lime juice and deglaze pan. If sauce is too thick for your taste, add a little chicken broth. But lately I just go with the pan juices and the lime juice, as I think it's the perfect consistency. If you use broth, simmer sauce to thicken (I like it almost to a glaze consistency, but if you use broth the salt will concentrate as it reduces, so just keep tasting it as you go. I don't usually put as much salt as is called for in the dry rub, for this reason). Once you reach the desired consistency, turn chicken in the sauce to coat and serve!



For more recipe ideas, visit Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, and Tuesdays at the Table!

Love, Dahrlin'

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: The "no more turkey" menu!



I love Thanksgiving. Truly. But in my family, everyone loves the "turkey and dressing with sides" meal so much that we tend to eat it exactly as-is...until it's gone. I do have creative leftover ideas. I DO! But no one really wants any changes to it - they like it as-is, so that's what we eat. For about three and a half days, LOL! So by now, I'm pretty much over the turkey!

Whenever I have eaten heavier foods for a few days (and I definitely have this week!) I crave foods that will lighten me up again. Fresh fish, seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables, generally things that don't involve gravy, condensed soup or a lot of butter and cream (bet my regular readers never thought you'd hear me say that! LOL!) So this week is about lightening up, just a little. Not too much, because it will be chilly here this week and I still crave heartier meals this time of year. But just enough to balance things from the holiday.

So here's the plan! I'm also going to post most of my breakfasts and lunches to keep me on track for the week.

Sunday:
Dinner - Halibut with Grapefruit Fennel Salsa, pasta with lemon butter, garden salad
UPDATED TO ADD - this was delicious. Even hubby liked it, and I didn't see that coming. I thought he would take a left turn at grapefruit. Or fennel. But he liked it! And I LOVED it. The perfect antidote to days of turkey, gravy and butter.

Monday (workout night):
Breakfast - Chocolate Protein Smoothie
Lunch - Lemon chicken soup, blueberry oat and banana muffin for "dessert"
Dinner - Garlic Lime Chicken, Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes, Wilted Spinach

Tuesday (cooking night):
Breakfast - Herbed Egg Omelette Sammy
Lunch - Chicken ragu, whole grain garlic toast
Dinner - Honey Apple Pork, Green Beans with Kale, Roasted Potatoes

Wednesday (workout night):
Breakfast - Smoothie
Lunch - with friends
Dinner - Salmon with Whole Wheat Spaghetti, Basil and Lemon

Thursday (cooking night):
Breakfast - Omelette Sammy
Lunch - Salmon pasta leftovers
Dinner - Cajun Meatloaf (I think I've mentioned that this is the new favorite meal in our house!), Corn, Peas

Friday (I need to workout, so let's call this a workout night too!):
Breakfast - Smoothie
Lunch - Meatloaf leftovers
Dinner - My brother in law will be arriving for a visit - we may go out for pizza or order Chinese

Saturday:
Dinner - Balsamic BBQ Grilled Chicken, Baked Potatoes, Broccoli

Happy week to all, and for more menu inspiration, head on over to Orgjunkie!

Love, Dahrlin'

UPDATED TO ADD - on the couponing front, grocery goal for this week was $50. We hit it exactly. YAY!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Table is Set...

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!



(and yes, I will definitely post recipes from our feast...just as soon as I'm done cooking them, LOL!)

Love, Dahrlin'

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Yep, I was there!

Though, as usual, I'm running a little late in posting this!
(Quiet, Jane, I can hear you from here! LOL!)

WOW, what a crazy week! I am so glad to finally have a second to share a few photos from a truly fantastic weekend!

As several of our group have already shared, last weekend, several of us took off for a fabulous weekend retreat in my home state - Tennessee! Pigeon Forge is lovely this time of year, and I had an absolute blast visiting with these 12 lovely ladies!

The cabin we stayed in was just gorgeous, as was the company!



I did not take all that many photos, but here are a few highlights -


The view from the cabin was lovely - and there were still at least a few leaves on the trees!



We made new friends - here are Heather and Denise -



And here are Jane, myself and Angie -



We shopped, we ate, we acted silly and had a blast!



And we tried, for at least one photo, to all behave ourselves!



Thanks SO much to these ladies - my BFF Angie and Shannon - for a fantastic weekend! MWAH!



Love, Dahrlin'

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pumpkin Walnut Bread



This will be a quick post, because by the time you read it, I will be back in my home state, visiting our local highlands (or higher-lands, anyway!) with a fantastic group of other bloggers, including my BFF. I cannot WAIT and I am sure we will all have lots of exciting tales to tell when we return!

While I'm away, I wanted to share another yummy fall recipe I made recently. This was a new one for me, and while I like certain things about it, I think I will continue to tweak it some as I refine it. But what I loved about it, aside from the wonderful fall flavors, was that - with a little cream cheese on top - it bears more than a passing flavor resemblance to a perennial favorite of mine - carrot cake!

I managed to refrain - barely - from adding sugar to the cream cheese I put on top. (Because then, I might have to officially call it frosting, and really - why ruin something that is otherwise perfectly healthy sounding?)

Here is the recipe I tried. So far, I left out the raisins just because I'm not a huge fan of raisins mixed in with other foods. And I may tweak it a little further (if I do I will update this post). But otherwise I loved this. See how you like it!



I'll be back next week with lots of stories from our getaway weekend!

Love, Dahrlin'

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Yum! Just...YUM!

As I write this post, I am eating this:



And it is soooooo good. This is the first "just for me" meal I have made in a while. And several things about it make me smile -

First, Giada has a real knack for coming up with health-conscious but super-satisfying flavor and food combinations.

Secondly, I am developing a knack for making her recipes my own, to suit my tastes and whims of the moment.

The result?

A delicious, nutritious dinner that I can make in fifteen minutes (and ten of those are for cooking the pasta). Perfect for absolutely any season of the year, and if you've been reading this blog long, you know how I feel about eating and cooking seasonally!

Next, this is, unapologetically, girl food. At least in my house. (Sorry guys, if any men are reading - hopefully, you are more willing to try new foods than my husband!) And you know what? I could not be more delighted to enjoy it. Every once in a while, I LOVE to make a recipe without caring whether my husband will eat it. Or even try it. And this is something he pretty much won't touch. But I hope you will!

This has a handful of ingredients, not including olive oil, salt and pepper. Ready?

Salmon
Whole wheat spaghetti
Lemon (zest and juice)
Olives
Basil
and Spinach

(...and a hint of butter. 'Cause I could not resist. But shhhhh!!! If I don't call it an ingredient, it doesn't count. Right?)

I won't really give proportions, because this is all about however you like it. For example, the next time I make this I will double the spinach and chop up my olives, which I was too lazy to do tonight since it was 9 pm as I was making this meal. But next time I will, because that salty bite is really delicious throughout this dish, and rounds out the flavors perfectly. So just boil however much spaghetti you want and cook as much salmon as you need. You'll need at least one lemon. Anything from a handful of spinach and a few olives (I use Kalamata, but just because they are my favorite) to a bag of spinach and a ton of olives would be great!

Now, here's what can make this a super-fast, weeknight, pantry meal. On Sunday, when your husband is grilling burgers, ask him to grill a bit of salmon for you. When he says "huh?", sweetly reply that you will save money on lunches this week! Refrigerate the fish until needed (reheat slowly - like at 30 or 40% power - for several minutes in microwave). Boil your spaghetti to desired tenderness. Drop in tons of spinach when it's done (but before draining) - then drain all together. This will wilt the spinach perfectly. Zest the lemon and toss pasta with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Add in zest and olives to taste. Top with salmon, drizzle with lemon juice and enjoy - or do what I do - thank God for Giada's food, because otherwise I'd still be eating Easy Mac on nights like this!!

Another reason to love this dish? It contains at least four of what they are now calling "superfoods." Foods like salmon, whole grains, spinach and olives/olive oil are all things we can agree are good for us. And in this dish, they are so delicious you won't even feel like you're eating healthy!

And now...back to my dinner!




(Adapted from this recipe, by Giada de Laurentiis. Notes on original recipe - I grilled the salmon instead, swapped kalamata olives in for the capers, which I don't prefer, and eliminated the garlic, but only because I was eating dinner late in the evening!)

Love, Dahrlin'

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wordful Wednesday: Fall Colors!

Ummm...



Think I should have ironed it first? LOL

I keep thinking the fold lines will fall out with the breeze. But...so far, notsomuch...

Anyway, welcome to fall in Georgia! I love UGA's new "blackout" color scheme - sometimes the guys wear black jerseys with the legendary "silver britches" and it looks sharp!!

(And I really think I'm gonna have to take this down and iron it. Really.)


Love, Dahrlin'

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Knitty Update

It's been a while since I posted an update on my current knitting project. After last year's issues with my neck problem, it was a while before knitting was comfortable again. And then in the summer, we're out by the pool a lot in our free time, and holding something wool in my lap in the heat is not really fun. But fall always brings me back to this project, and I love the progress so far.

For those new to my blog, I'm working on this afghan project. I adore bright colors and contrasts, and I love this pattern. So here is my block 13 of 24 for the afghan. I don't have a great place to photograph these in natural light, but I tried to get a ray of sunlight in there so you can see the truest color:



I pulled out the finished blocks to compare colors, and the latest skeins I have knitted are more muted than the first, more jewel-tone hues that I prefer. But that's what's available at the moment, so I think they will all blend nicely. (And yes, the egg-crate texture of the knitting is correct - it will flatten later as it's blocked).

This is about as crafty as I get outside scrapbooking, so I am really enjoying the project!

Love, Dahrlin'

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Comfort Food Birthday Dinner!



This Halloween, my Dad turned 70. Happy Birthday Daddy!

We originally planned a dinner out, but his wife was unable to join us this weekend, so we decided to cook at home and watch the ball games. Dad and hubby always bet the games, so game days are big around here!

On my second trip to the store for the day (don't ask!), I was headed out to pick up candy (can't believe we forgot this...but I never ever buy it early, because I can't keep myself from eating it). The boys called while I was on the way, to ask what the menu would be. I told Dad since it was his birthday, he could choose. I gave them a few options, and (much to my surprise!) he chose salmon patties. This is one of those foods I had no idea my Dad would eat! It's always been a favorite dish of mine, and hubby loves it too. But I just didn't know Dad would eat these. And he loved them!

I asked what he wanted for side dishes, and got another surprise. "Peas." What? Yes, PEAS. Uh...are you sure? Yes, baby peas. Alrighty then! LOL Peas, I have in the freezer at all times. Peas I can definitely do!

I reminded the boys we needed a second side item, because I know these boys well, and that's not going to fill them up. Potatoes? Roasted potatoes? Easy enough! This birthday dinner was sounding better and better. Lots of my favorites in here too!

So, for anyone who has never tried salmon patties (some people call these croquettes, but ...not so much here in the South!)...try these. Especially for lovers of crab cakes - this is the same concept (only much more affordable!) And by the time I add ketchup at the table, which is my favorite condiment for these, I promise they don't even taste like fish.

You only need a few ingredients. Canned salmon, oats (yes, oats!), a lemon, some parsley, an onion, an egg or two, and some bread crumbs. Grab whatever oil you want to saute* in, find your salt and pepper, and you're good to go!

(*While we are not big on fancy cooking terms in the South, we will cheerfully use "saute" instead of "fry" to make ourselves feel better. Or at least I will! LOL)

Now. Grab a big bowl, drain the fish and crumble it. For six patties you want about 3 "regular" size cans. Finely chop a small onion and about a handful (to taste) of flat leaf Italian parsley. Juice 1/2 to 1 lemon (again, to taste). Oh, and add in a little Worcestershire sauce - about a tablespoon. Add some salt and pepper, a handful of oats, a drizzle of olive oil and 1 large egg (lightly beaten). Form into equal size patties and dredge in bread crumbs (I used about 3 parts french bread crumbs to 1 part whole wheat bread crumbs, just because that's what I had - use any crumbs you've got or make some). When you're done, they'll look something like this:



Then, heat a large skillet over medium heat and coat the bottom with oil. When it's warm (but not smoking - toss in a bread crumb and it should sizzle a bit, just gently). Add the patties (I do about three at at time - don't crowd them) and brown on both sides. It's super simple, and super yummy. Keep the first batch warm in a 225 degree oven, on paper towels. When you serve them, serve with ketchup alongside. I promise, you won't even know you're eating fish!



For the side dishes, I just cut up red and white potatoes and tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper. I have a lot of variations on this theme, some involving garlic, peppers, onions, or rosemary, because I love roasted potatoes, but hubby prefers them plain. If you do them plain, don't skimp on the salt and pepper! Roast about an hour at 375, tossing every 15 minutes. Toss again with kosher salt just before serving. And here again - just go ahead and leave the ketchup on the table, LOL!



I kept the peas simple, with just butter, salt and pepper. And voila - a super yummy birthday dinner. It doesn't get more comforting or homey than this! We all agreed it's a perfect game-day meal, too!

Hope you enjoy!



Love, Dahrlin'
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